King's Cambridge for Palestine (KC4P) has been pressuring the College to take action to distance itself from IsraelRuying Yang for Varsity

King’s College is set to review its investments amid pressure from students to divest from arms companies, as Cambridge faces ongoing criticism of alleged ties to Israel.

The College’s council has commissioned a review of “responsible investment,” following a student-proposed paper urging King’s to cut ties with the arms industry. The paper, which proposed a deadline of the end of 2025 to pull investments from weaponry, was was co-signed by the College’s students’ union (KCSU) after a vote, before being taken to the council.

The council has commissioned its governing body to produce a review of investments next term, with recommendations to be implemented by the end of the next academic year.

King’s Cambridge for Palestine (KC4P), a student group, has recently led a direct action campaign against the College’s ties to Israel. The group was founded last month when students disrupted a college talk which included a speaker from GCHQ, accusing the provost of “platforming zionists and military affiliates”.

KC4P has since been pressuring the College to reform its policy of inviting speakers and to cut all investments in the arms industry, staging a “die-in” earlier this month, and a protest outside King’s on Friday (14/06).

KC4P are hailing the review as a win for their campaign, telling Varsity that they intend to push college decision makers to include full arms divestment in the measures taken by King’s.

The College told Varsity that they recognise “the importance of responsible investment,” and “encourage the active participation of student representatives in discussions about [their] investment approach”.

Gillian Tett, King’s Provost, has told the College Council that she is keen for King’s “to have a conversation about the College’s endowment,” and for it to “decide as an organisation the investment approach the College wants to take” on factors including the climate and human rights, according to minutes seen by Varsity.

Other council documents seen by Varsity reveal that the King’s Investment Committee is considering “alternative products that ‘screen’ for certain kinds of company,” including in the “defence, energy, and tobacco sectors”.

A Varsity investigation last year found that King’s invests £2.2 million in arms and defence and had increased its shares in the industry in recent years.

A Commons bill proposing to prevent public bodies from “being influenced by political or moral disapproval of foreign states when taking certain economic decisions” had posed a “further complication” to considering student divestment demands, according to council documents, however this legislation did not pass before the dissolution of Parliament.

The council notes also discuss the University’s threat of dropping Barclays, its long-term banking partner, based on its investments in fossil fuels. The document states that the University’s “reputational impact” on banks is “one of the reasons why no university or college has withdrawn from Barclays (the intention being to ‘reform from within’)”.

Barclays has recently come under fire for its ties with companies involved with Israel, as well as with fossil fuel companies. The process of considering banking alternatives is progressing, the notes reveal, with plans to consider 14 proposals in Michaelmas.


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Of the College’s incoming review of investments, KC4P told Varsity: “Marking the first tangible commitment to divestment among Cambridge’s colleges, this is a significant victory.”

“KC4P will continue to push the demands of the student body, and we will not rest while King’s College remains complicit in genocide,” they said.

A spokesperson for King’s College told Varsity: “After a welcome discussion with student representatives, the College Council will recommend to King’s Governing Body a review of the College’s approach to responsible investment. This will bring proposals in Michaelmas Term 2024 with a view to implementation by the end of the 2024/25 academic year. Governing Body will consider Council’s recommendation later this term.”